Richard C. Monnier
love letter

Date Unknown

My Dearest Mary,

I am sick - body and soul - I am sick. I've thought about what I said last night. I've thought of nothing else. The more I thought, the more I could see how youc ame by the impression you did. But you're wrong - not that you misunderstood or that I didn't mean what I said - but that my meaning wasn't caught by my words. Because I love you I wanted to tell you how I feel about certain very personal things.

I can't see how I was so stupid as not to see the impression you were getting. I see it now - so clearly that it breaks my heart to think of it. I am sick, so sick.

When I spoke last night, although the words were of greater number (and perhaps because they were of greater number), I wasn't clear. Clarity comes with simplicity. And in its simplicity what I said about you was that I love you more than anything else.

Most of what I said wasn't about you, but about others - I only wanted you to understand how I feel about things - about others and the things that happen to me. I could have told no one else what I told you. I only wanted to tell you how I feel and my words, the words which I praise as conveying meaning - languages, the instrument of communication - defeated my purpose.

I've slept poorly. I've lost my appetite. My hands tremble. At the moment I live only to tell you these things. I have no other desire than to tell you in a voice loud and clear - one which would shake the foundations of hell - that what you think I said was wrong. Or rather what you think I meant is wrong. You will, I fear, find it hard to believe as I now find it hard to believe that I was so blind not to see how I'd be misunderstood. But I swear to God and by my life that I didn't mean what you think. The thought never crossed my mind until you said it - and at your words I was shocked - a shock from which I doubt I'll ever fully recover.

I'll ask you to forgive me, for I cannot forgive myself. If ever one should be damned to hell, I should for what I've done. I would take my words back at any price - by my life if I could. But all I can do is to try to recover their meaning.

Oh! my dearest, Dearest, how can I tell you how I feel now. The look in your eyes last night will never pass away.

I wish that I were struck dumb that I could not have spoken to you - that I could never speak again seeing my words have so betrayed me.

I can understand that what you think I meant may have altered your feelings, perhaps you'll never be able to feel about me the same way again, for which I curse myself! But you must understand - you must - the language has betrayed me and perhaps God has punuished me, But listen not to my words now, listen to my heart. Feel what it says. You must understand it or my heart must forever die.

I told my love, I told my love
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!

O rose, thou are sick:
The invisible worm!
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

I love you; I'm sorry and forgive me are all I can say. I feel that all of creation has turned against me, has forced me to say seemingly good things which have only evil effects. I have been cheated and betrayed. I would cry: My God!, My God, why has thou forsaken me!? All reason forsakes me as well. I stand not with a fern in my hand, but in a land where ferns grow thick and fast. But in my heart there are only roses only for you.

In this black pit of hate I call my soul
Is more love than ever a god can give.
Oh! Acidie where is the sting of placid age
To lend comfort to my mortal rage.
Or Where! Where! the pain of mortal rage
To lend anguish to my crippled age.
I'll take either heaven or hell
Whichever better the lot can fill,
For mortal hands have needed palms
Which prick discomfort in my rage.
Despaired, I pray to you gods a demon sage
From within my living and leaden cage.
I accept whatever you may say
Only whirl my spirit from itself away;
Fill me with passion or benumb me by the world's sway,
But do it now for I die today.

Words, although vain, once said are forever spoken.


When I Was 17    
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    A Young Married Lady

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Judge Advocate
Henry L. Burnett

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